Ain’t I a Woman? author Gloria Jean Watkins – who goes by pen name ‘bell hooks’ was at a New School panel discussing the subject ‘liberating the black female body’ when she tackled the famous singer and her effect on young girls.
The subject was broached initially by Janet Mock, a transgendered activist and author, who wanted to discuss how inspirational she found the 32-year-old singer to be when writing her own book.
Anti-Feminist? Beyonce has been labelled a ‘terrorist’ by scholar bell hooks despite her own urging for gender equality
While noting she has issues with the controversial lyrics in Drunk in Love that refer to the domestic abuse between Ike and Tina Turner, for example, Mock lauded Mrs Carter for ‘owning her body and claiming that space.’
But hooks disagreed: ‘I see a part of Beyonce that is, in fact, anti-feminist – that is a terrorist, especially in terms of the impact on young girls.
‘I actually feel like the major assault on feminism in our society has come from visual media and from television and videos.’
Queen Bey, of course, identifies herself as modern day Feminist and penned her own essay about the struggle to achieve gender equality.
‘She probably had very little control over that cover, that image,’ hooks said.
She added that she was adding to the ‘construction of herself as a slave.’
Another panel member, Marci Blackman countered: ‘Or she’s using the same images that were used against her and us for so many years, and she’s taking control over it and saying, “If y’all are going to make money off of it, so am I.” There’s collusion, perhaps, but there’s also a bit of reclaiming, I think, if she’s the one in control.’
bell then added that she believes it’s Bey’s money that talks.
She explained: ‘Wealthy is what so many young people fantasize, dream about, sexualize, eroticize…and one could argue even more than her body is what that body stands for…wealth, fame, celebrity – all the things that so many people in our culture are lusting for, wanting.’
The radical voice continued: ‘Let’s say if Beyonce was a homeless woman who looked the same way, or a poor, down-and-out woman who looked the same way -would people be enchanted by her?
‘Or is it the combination of all of those things that are at the heart of imperialist, white supremacist, capitalist patriarchy?’